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30 December 2013

Brentford Manager Mark Warburton hails players and staff after moving to the top of Sky Bet League One after win over Milton Keynes Dons

Brentford Manager Mark Warburton said he was delighted his team were top of Sky Bet League One, but stressed only half the job was done.

The Bees made it 11 wins in a run of 12 unbeaten League One matches by beating Milton Keynes Dons 3-1 at Griffin Park yesterday.

They climbed to the top of the table with 49 points from their 23 games, more points than any other team in England’s four professional divisions and at a better points-per-game ratio than any team in the Football League.

Mark, who took over as Brentford Manager three weeks ago having previously been Sporting Director, paid tribute to the staff and the players.

But he said Brentford had to learn and make slight improvements if they were to stay where they were.

“We have to be delighted with where we are,” said Mark, speaking after the match.

“We have to learn lessons and move forward.

“We go in to 2014 top of the table.

“Credit to the staff and players but only half the job is done.

“We have work to do and a lot of games to play.

“If we learn our lessons, concentrate on what we do well, we will be in very good shape on May 4.”

Mark said he was pleased with his team’s win over MK Dons.

Clayton Donaldson scored inside the first 90 seconds and Brentford had the chances to be out of sight before the break.

Marcello Trotta and Sam Saunders scored soon after half time but MK came back well.

They reduced the arrears inside the final 20 minutes and had chances to make life more difficult for The Bees.

Mark said his team were “sloppy” at the end of both halves and they had to work on that.

But he was happy with his fourth win from four games, the first Brentford Manager in history to win his first four games.

Brentford’s next match is against Peterborough United on New Year’s Day, Wednesday January 1, and Mark said that was the end of a five game run the group had been targeting after he took over.

“I am very pleased overall,” said the Brentford boss.

“However, I felt we were sloppy at the end of both halves.

“The players agreed and we will work on that.

“But we can’t knock it, this is a good result and a good performance and we now have four wins from four.

“It is very good so far.

“As I have said before, we set ourselves a five game target, we now go in to game five, let’s see where we are after that.

“For the first 20 to 25 minutes we were excellent all over the park.

“Our shape was good and we moved the ball well, we should have been three or four goals up.

“Then we got sloppy.

“It was the same in the second half, we got to 3-0 up, were in control of the game but we got loose in the pass, dropped ten yards deeper.

“We have to learn from that.”

Mark said it was important Brentford started quickly and he praised them for an “excellent” first quarter.

He then pinpointed what The Bees needed to work on.

“It was important to come out of the blocks quickly,” he said.

“In the past we have been sluggish at the start of some games.

“We had been looking at what we could do to improve it.

“We were excellent for the first 25 minutes; we have to learn from the latter stages of both halves.

“We kept the ball well, moved it quickly, had good movement and stretched them high and wide.

“When we didn't have the ball we denied them space and won it back quickly.

“Later in both halves we dropped deeper, gave the ball away cheaply and we can’t afford to do that.

“MK are a good footballing side, if you give the ball away you have to work hard to get it back.”

Mark made one change to his Brentford team, after the Boxing Day win over Swindon Town, bringing in George Saville, recovered from illness, to replace Will Grigg, who had a hamstring injury.

He took Adam Forshaw, as a precaution, and Alan McCormack off in the second half and was able to give Shaleum Logan some time on the pitch.

Mark said it was important to build consistency by playing the same team but players not involved in the starting XI needed game time.

He praised Sam Saunders who has scored three goals in his last three games having started for the first time since early October on Boxing Day.

“You get consistency from playing the same team, which is great,” said Mark.

“But you have players that need match time.

“Shaleum Logan has hardly played in the First Team for eight weeks.

“All credit to him, he came on, looked sharp and did a good job for us.

“That is testament to his character, fitness and work on the training ground.

“You have to get the balance right between consistency and making sure everyone is fit enough to contribute.

“Sam Saunders has worked hard on the training ground to recover from injury and get back to where he is today.

“We saw his quality.

“He had a pivotal role.”

Mark said the conditioning staff had worked hard to keep the Brentford players fit during the busy run of games.

The Bees travel to Peterborough to play 72 hours after beating MK and Mark said it would be a different challenge.

“The biggest challenge for all clubs at this time of year is getting through the game,” he said.

“We have been playing every three days, we have to wrap the squad in cotton wool and get through.

“We have a break after that because we don’t have a game on January 4.

“It will be a good game at Peterborough.

“They are a good footballing side and are a  bit physically stronger than a few teams we have played recently.

“It will be a challenge for us to deal with but hopefully we are up to the task.

“The players and conditioning staff work hard to keep the players fit.

“We remain strong in games.”

Bees Player subscribers can see Mark Warburton’s full post-match reaction here.

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